A Kirkcaldy pensioner says she was left feeling like a criminal during a train trip to Edinburgh this week.
Ann Wood (73), was travelling alone to the capital and had bought a concessionary ticket at Kirkcaldy station before boarding the 9.25 a.m. ScotRail train.
She had settled down in a seat when she heard an announcement that concessionary tickets were not valid but, as she was already on board and the carriage was empty, she decided to pay the £3 difference in price to travel at the full price rate.
However when she was approached by the conductor as the train approached Aberdour she was told her ticket was not valid. She agreed and told the conductor she wanted to pay the extra to cover the cost, but he informed her she would have to pay for an additional full-price ticket costing £7.60.
Mrs Wood explained: “As I had already paid for a concessionary ticket and did not have enough cash on me for an additional full price ticket, I told him I was willing to pay the £3, but he again refused.
‘‘I had boarded the train not realising until I was seated that I should have waited for the next one which was due just three minutes later.
“The first stop was Haymarket, so getting off there was not an option. When we arrived at Haymarket I saw two policemen waiting on the platform. They asked me to step on to the platform where I told them the same story – that I had already paid for a ticket and was willing to pay the extra when I realised my innocent mistake.
“One of them told me that there were two options – either I paid in full for another ticket or else they would charge me with fraud. I was completely shocked at being faced with a criminal charge and I reluctantly agreed to pay with my card.
“I told them I wanted to make an official complaint at the treatment I had received and they escorted me through the station to the complaints office which mortified me.
“It was a horrendous experience and I was left feeling shocked and upset, as well as very angry.
‘‘The guard was rude, and I feel the police were heavy handed. It was a genuine mistake which I was willing to rectify, but they wouldn’t listen and treated me like a criminal.”
A spokesman for ScotRail said: “We have yet to hear from Ms Wood and will be happy to address her concerns when we do.
‘‘We welcome concession cardholders and do our utmost to help them understand which trains they can travel on including making an announcement before the train departs. It is rare for police to become involved, but revenue protection is crucial and this option is available when customers refuse to pay.”